Embedding Change at West Midlands Police

by | Oct 1, 2018 | Case Studies, Evidence for Change, Featured, General, Resources

West Midlands police force serves a population of almost 2.8 million. With a shrinking force dealing with increasing demand, a real change needed to happen if the officers were to remain effective in their roles.

In 2017, the Force Contact Department launched an online platform that allowed members of the public to report incidents online, in an attempt to reduce pressure from their emergency 101 number that received 2,000 emergency calls every day. The goal was to double the number of reports submitted online from 2% to 4%. However, there were 2 key challenges preventing the successful uptake of this platform:

  1. Front line officers were not aware of the online platform
  2. There was a lack of digital confidence amongst police staff

The Solution:

Facing a number of issues, the force partnered up with Accenture and Cognician, a digital coaching platform, to create a 30-day challenge to build confidence, share knowledge and establish new and lasting habits.

Steps to success:

  • Officers and staff members helped shape the solution up front, ensuring that they would be engaged and participate in the learning. Workshops provided insights into what daily activities would be needed to achieve the goals and how they needed to be framed to engage the audience.
  • Officers received, reflected on and completed daily challenges through mobile devices or desktop. The platform used gaming elements and interactivity with other participants to create a sense of competition which ensured engagement was maintained.
  • Officers were encouraged to repeat activities with slight variation, using structured and regular repetition in different contexts to ensure that officers reflected on their experiences and learnt from them.
  • Through a shared platform, learners reflected on their experiences of the days challenge and could view and respond to other officers’ insights. Reflecting became an active process whereby managers encouraged, and spared time at the end of the shift, for their teams to reflect on their experiences in order to improve in the future.
  • Technology did not just allow for support through the creation of a learner community but gave learners guidance in what they should reflect on through the use of games and targets. There was a clear structure to the learning that was made apparent as officers collected different badges for completing challenges on a daily basis.

Managers enthusiastically participated in the learning process as they reminded officers in their daily meetings about the days challenge and where they were on the leader board.

‘’The creation of new habits, through application and reflection, was undeniable within West Midlands police. The number of incidents reported online has doubled and reached the 4% target, the public are spending more time on the website as they are valuing the advice given online and the digital capabilities have increased”- Alice O’Neill, Change Practitioner, West Midlands Police.

The new approach to learning created both an individual and organisational change as it increased the agility and flexibility of the West Midland’s police; ensuring they could adapt to their challenges.

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By Molly Blackwell, Towards Maturity

The case study has been created as part of the Towards Maturity and Cognician In Focus report, How to Build and Change Habits in the Workplace [2018].

About West Midlands Police

www.west-midlands.police.uk

West Midlands Police is the second largest police force in the country, covering an area of 348 square miles and serving a population of almost 2.8 million.

The region sits at the very heart of the country and covers the three major centres of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. It also includes the busy and thriving districts of Sandwell, Walsall, Solihull and Dudley. Leisure, retail and conference amenities, together with Premiership and Championship football teams, attract millions of visitors annually.

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